When should you replace your lights? Seems like a silly question, eh? After all, who replaces their light bulbs while they’re still burning or their light fixtures while they still function properly?

But do you ever feel as if your light bulbs just aren’t burning as long as they should? Does it seem like you’re constantly replacing your bulbs, even when you’re purchasing those that are supposed to have a super-long life? If so, there’s likely an underlying reason that you’re not getting the hours you should out of your bulbs.

Consider this.

The average incandescent bulb lasts anywhere from 750 to about 2,000 hours. A more efficient halogen bulb can last twice that long, up to approximately 4,000 hours and usually no fewer than 2,000. Fluorescent bulbs – which are often used in an office or industrial setting – get about 10,000 to 60,000 hours while LEDs usually average 25.000 to 50,000 hours.

If you’re replacing your bulbs much sooner than their allotted hours, it’s time to have an electrician take a look at why that might be happening.

What’s Up?

There are a number of reasons why your bulbs – regardless of type – aren’t performing efficiently.

  • Power fluctuations – Yes, power surges can make light bulbs burn out. Even though power companies generally try their hardest to produce clean, stable power for distribution to homes, offices, and other commercial customers, outside sources can indeed disturb power lines. A lightning strike to a power line, for example, can send a surge into your home, affecting your bulbs. Other nearby users – like large factories – can also cause surges during start-ups or shutdowns at the beginning or end of the day. Or you might actually be the culprit if you plug in and unplug appliances while they are turned on, which can cause small voltage spikes.
  • Too much off and on – Incandescent bulbs are especially affected when you constantly turn them on and off. When such a bulb is turned on, it generates heat, which causes the filament to expand and the small wire to move ever so slightly. It cools when it’s turn off but if it’s turned back on too rapidly, that filament will fluctuate too much and break.
  • Old dimmer switches – Are you trying to use a halogen or other newer type of bulb on your old dimmer switch? If such switches aren’t up to date, they’ll only really accommodate incandescent bulbs efficiently. For example, an old dimmer you’ve had for decades can damage the circuitry in the bottom of an LED or CFL (compact fluorescent) bulb and blow it out fairly quickly. Because of this, it’s a good idea to call an electrician to replace these switches with new ones.
  • Loose connections – Any loose or improperly connected fixtures or wiring can cause the voltage going to a bulb to vary, which will take its toll on the bulb and eventually cause it to burn out prematurely. Have an electrician check the fixture and/or junction box and tighten things up or replace them where necessary to relieve this problem.
  • A whole house issue – If the problem of prematurely burned out bulbs seems to be something that’s happening throughout your entire home, not just with a fixture or two, you may have to address this with an inspection by a licensed electrician. It could be that the voltage in your home is too high. It’s not a difficult problem to diagnose and a professional can come up with a solution to fix it once the issue is confirmed.

Need help figuring out how to lengthen the life of the lights you use every day. Give Stapleton Electric a call so that we can give your home or office a power check-up and offer suggestions that could solve your lighting problems.